‘SCs not allowed to cremate body at common burial ground in Madurai village’
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‘SCs not allowed to cremate body at common burial ground in Madurai village’

By Thehindu calender  01-Sep-2019

‘SCs not allowed to cremate body at common burial ground in Madurai village’

Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front’s State joint secretary T. Chellakannu alleged that dominant castes in P. Subbulapuram refused to allow the cremation of a 50-year-old Scheduled Caste man’s body at the common burial ground on August 17.
Speaking to reporters here on Saturday, he said that the mourners were trying to provide a dignified final farewell to V. Shanmugavel, who died after being unwell. “Our graveyards are located next to each other. On the day we were attempting to burn the body, it was pouring. We met some caste Hindus to ask if we could cremate the body in their graveyard. They picked a fight and went to the police. The officials registered an FIR against six people from our community,” said P. Malaisamy, a relative of the dead man.
Mr. Chellakannu said the police registered a counter FIR against the caste Hindus only after a long struggle. “Although the government claims that there are no major caste-related issues in the State, it is evident that issues relating to discrimination against SC people exist. We demand one cremation ground for all,” he said.
Although it has been two weeks since the incidents, the district administration had not made any significant progress towards peace, he added. “Only the tahsildar has visited the site once,” he said. S. Malaisamy, son of the deceased, said that there were about 40 Scheduled Caste families in their village and discrimination was apparent.
Elaborating, Mr. Chellakannu said apart from the problems relating to the cremation grounds, one individual caste Hindu member had built a six-foot high wall on what was earlier a pathway for Scheduled Caste members to reach Vannivelampatti, a village located about 100 metres from P. Subbulapuram. “It is also the same way through which drainage flows out from the area where Scheduled Castes live. Since the channel blocks the drainage, all the excreta floats around near the SC habitation,” he said.

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